Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of "Mona Lisa"

• Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of "Mona Lisa"

105 years ago, the crime was committed, which went down in history as the robbery of the century: August 21, 1911 from the Louvre was stolen "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci. In this and accused the French government, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of, and anarchists, and millionaires, and avant-garde artists. However, the culprit was neither an anarchist nor an artist nor insane. The answer was very close, but to return the painting was only 2 years later.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

About the theft became known the next day, when the artist-restorer came to the Louvre, to make a copy of "Mona Lisa", but the pictures on the usual place is not found. All outputs from the Louvre immediately blocked, conducted a search, which, alas, no results. The case was assigned to one of the best French detectives - Alphonse Bertillon. Suspicion fell on the museum's employees, including the director, who claimed in a recent interview that steal the "Mona Lisa" is as unreal as the kidnap bells of Notre Dame. Jokers yazvili: "Now turn the Eiffel Tower!".

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

The place where hanging * * Mona Lisa at the Louvre 1911

Bertillon used anthropometric method: for each suspect was measured growth, the volume of the head, the length of the arms and legs, etc. The indicators were compared with the data listed in the files of criminals - and thus determined attacker... Unless, of course, he was a recidivist. There was still one thing: in the files of Bertillon was about 100 thousand criminals, and the data processing required months.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

About the kidnapping wrote in the newspapers

At the same time the founder of anthropometric method Bertillon fingerprinting considered pseudo-scientific method, that played a fatal role in this detective story. The fact that on the side of the stairs, which was used only by the ministers of the Louvre, found an empty frame "Mona Lisa" on it was visible traces of paint with a fingerprint. And in the police database on the fingerprint could find the attacker, who had previous problems with the law.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

However, in one Bertillon was right: the kidnapping of "Mona Lisa" was indeed involved in the employee of the Louvre. The young Italian Vincenzo Perugia shortly before the scene was arranged in museum seasonal workers. He was a glazier and produced a protective shield for the great paintings da Vinci. And then, on Monday, when there were no visitors to the Louvre, I entered the room, removed the painting from the wall, went to the side stairs, pulled out of the frame, wrapped in a jacket and walked calmly out of the museum.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

Vincenzo Perugia. Sheet of criminal proceedings

The French press has accused the Germans of provocation: that the Kaiser ordered to steal the "Mona Lisa" to demonstrate the weakness of France. The German press in response accusing the French who wanted to start a war. And they both were far from the truth. As well as those who accused avant-garde artists, headed by Picasso, who declared that the classical painting useless. Among the suspects was also a collector of Argentine Eduardo de Valferno, who shortly before had ordered the abduction of 6 copies of the "Mona Lisa." All copies he sold, giving them a stolen original. According to some, it was he who organized the kidnapping of the picture, and Perugia was the only performer. Earning millions in counterfeits, Valferno disappeared - the original was no longer needed him.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

* * Mona Lisa in Florence 1913

Whoever was the real organizer of the crime, to get rid of stolen artist had their own. It was then revealed and all. In December 1913 the Florentine antiquarian letter arrived from France with a proposal to buy the "Mona Lisa," da Vinci. Antique dealer offered him to meet, and soon arrived in Florence a young man who said that he had decided to return to his homeland Italian work of art stolen by the French. Antique dealer conducted examination and, convinced of the authenticity of the painting, to the police.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

The Return * * Mona Lisa in the Louvre 1914

Vincenzo Perugia did not deny his guilt and admitted that he had committed the theft with the sole aim - the restoration of historical justice. He wanted to return to the Italians what belonged to them by right. And as the Court held in Florence, his arguments have had effect: the offender was sentenced to just one year to conclude. "Mona Lisa" for another six months exhibited in museums in Italy and then returned to France. Here are just still are those who doubt that the Louvre has returned the original, not a copy of the famous masterpiece.

Robbery of the century: the incredible story of the abduction of

Reproduction of the painting Mona Lisa * * * exhibition genius da Vinci * in Moscow